Today was interesting. It started as most days following Kim’s death: I get up, I see the empty half of our bed, and I feel the loss. I go about my toiletries because they need to be accomplished. And then I go downstairs and start my day.
Today, after my morning meetings, I had to deliver performance reviews to my team, and get my own from my manager. My team is outstanding, so delivering their PRs was easy – I really enjoy delivering what is universally good news, so it was a good way to spend the afternoon. Of course, in the 360° portion of the reviews, it was brought up time and again how “inspiring” it was that I continued to work through that time; that up until the day Kim passed, I was active in meetings and available to the team. I was honest with them in my response, explaining that it wasn’t as much dedication to my job as it was therapy – something to focus on other than watching my beautiful bride fade away from me. And my performance review was great, too. I am humbled and heartened to know the esteem my management holds me in.
To some degree, today’s experience did cause some introspection, like every experience these days seems to do. Was I too devoted to work and not devoted enough to Kim and kids? My work career was, for the majority of it, “inspired.” I was seen as “high potential” – someone who made things happen – especially at the beginning of my time at Ford. I enjoyed promotion after promotion until I broke into management – and even there, I received an in-series promotion that many of my peers never saw. Several of my peers referred to me jokingly as “the golden one”, coated with Teflon in the way I could have frank discussions – sometimes unflattering discussions – with those many levels above me, and come away unscathed. And I was VERY interested in the climb and would take on unusual assignments and put in long – ungodly long – hours to achieve what I needed in order to be successful in them. All that time, I missed my young, growing family – I was up and gone before they were out of bed, and returned home long after they’d gone to bed. Looking around, I noticed that the most successful around me didn’t seem to have families, let alone family lives. So, I put the brakes on and started turning down the “spotlight” assignments to, instead, ensure more time at home. As karma would have it, though: the job descriptions changed with the needs of the Company, and I ended up spending inordinate amounts of time away from home, anyway. Plus, I was never happy or secure in those jobs, in any case.
Why did I stay? I could easily have left Ford and pursued another career somewhere where the work would have kept me local. I know part of what retained me was the “golden handcuffs” of the pension and the good benefits at the time (they’re really no better than anyone else’s nowadays). Perhaps it was just fear of the unknown – the fear of starting as “the new guy” again. In any case, I guess it is what it is, and I am who I am, and things are as they were to be. Life takes you where the good Lord wants you to be.
But back to today. Today was a good day. There were moments in discussions with some of my team during the reviews when I felt my cheery facade start to crack due to a comment they made or an answer I gave relating to Kim, but, a brief moment, and I had myself under control. Good days like today are a glimpse of that time, that potential when the happy memories crowd out the loss.
Postscript: Family Friday. Oops! I realized in the late morning that we had forgotten all about Family Friday. So, we set a plan in motion for Kenny to construct one of his masterful charcuterie boards on a grand scale – we’d have meat, cheese, crackers, and whatever else he chooses to delight the palate for dinner!
News Flash: Jessica is not feeling well, and will be begging off this week – between not feeling well, and prepping her new house for their move before the end of the month, PLUS helping her beau to pick up his truck from the shop… No Jessie this week.
Oops! Jeanette has a pageant with her daughter tomorrow morning, an hour away from home. She doesn’t want to risk upsetting her digestive tract with cured meats and cheese, so she would like to buy Chinese food for everyone.
Compromise: Kenny assembled a delightful, down-scaled charcuterie board that we all dove into while waiting for Jeanette, who brought in a feast from her favorite restaurant.
And a good time was had by all. It’s a wonder we’re not all bigger than we are.